AAVMC awards $300,000 in scholarships to veterinary students


Fifteen recipients will each receive $20,000 in funding as the first cohort of a new program created in partnership with Chewy Health


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The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) has announced the first 15 scholarship recipients of a new program that aims to increase the veterinary profession’s representation of underserved groups and communities. In partnership with Chewy Health, the program is distributing a total of $300,000 in education funding to its inaugural cohort.1

The goal of the Chewy Veterinary Leaders Program is to help participants develop a solid foundation as they build their practices, according to Mita Malhotra, president of Chewy Health.“We are passionate about fostering a healthy culture in veterinary medicine and our scholarship program uniquely focuses on the opportunity to support veterinarians as they are navigating the transition from being a student to a doctor,” Malhotra said in a news release.2

Each of the third-year students in the 2024-2025 Chewy Veterinary Leaders Program Cohort are receiving $20,000 in funding. This cohort of students includes the following individuals:3

  • Alexandra Yiambilis—Cornell University; Ithaca, New York
  • Breonna Freeman—Louisiana State University; Baton Rouge
  • Casey Lavender—Mississippi State University; Mississippi
  • Christina Camson—The Ohio State; Columbus
  • Christopher Ibarra Gervacio—Washington State University; Pullman
  • Claudia Vasquez—University of Missouri; Columbia
  • Dianne Quiroz—Oregon State University; Corvallis
  • Ester Lam—University of Minnesota; Saint Paul
  • Hannah Huff—University of Georgia; Athens
  • Kelsey Birchfield—University of Tennessee; Knoxville
  • Mariana Martinez—Western University of Health Sciences; Pomona, California
  • Melanie Narvaez—University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Natalia Sanchez—Colorado State University; Fort Collins
  • Stephanie Yopp—University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Zachary Wriedt—Auburn University; Alabama

Andrew T. Maccabe, DVM, CEO of AAVMC, said the association’s membership was excited to offer the scholarships in partnership with Chewy Health. “This funding will be instrumental in helping us further education and representation in the profession as we champion diversity and inclusion in advancing veterinary medicine,” Maccabe said in a news release.1

Through facilitation by MentorVet, a Chewy partner, these students will participate in monthly conversations designed to be supportive and promote camaraderie, as part of the leadership program. Training, networking and other activities are also planned for the scholarship recipients.1

After graduation from their respective schools, the scholarship recipients will have opportunities to join a network of Chewy Veterinary Leaders alumni, continue participating in networking, and will be provided with post-graduation sponsorship to join MentorVet Leap, a 6-month professional development program for early-career veterinarians.1 “We hope these new leaders will inspire even more caregivers to enter the profession,” Malhotra added.2


  1. AAVMC awards inaugural Chewy Veterinary Leaders Cohort. American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges. March 27, 2024. Accessed April 8, 2024. https://www.aavmc.org/news/aavmc-awards-inaugural-chewy-veterinary-leaders-cohort/
  2. AAVMC partners with Chewy Health to launch new veterinary scholarship. American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges. November 6, 2023. Accessed April 8, 2024. https://www.aavmc.org/news/aavmc-partners-with-chewy-health-to-launch-new-veterinary-scholarship/
  3. 2024-2025 Chewy Veterinary Leaders Cohort. American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges. Accessed April 8, 2024. https://www.aavmc.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/Chewy-Veterinary-Leaders-Program-Recipients.pdf
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